Volunteer Experience- How to Shadow a Nurse

  1. Hello!

    I'm currently on the pre-nursing path, and am really excited about the idea of going into nursing, but I don't really have direct experience as to what a nurse encounters on a daily basis. Is it possible to shadow a nurse, and see what I am going to face in the future? (if I hopefully get into a nursing program! fingers crossed) And how would that work? Do you just contact different hospitals and ask?

    If anyone would like to share any experiences, or provide some tips, that would be wonderful!

    Thank you all so much in advance!
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    About orchids1129

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 18; Likes: 3
    from US


  3. by   Clovery
    You'll be shadowing nurses during your clinicals. You'd have to contact your local hospitals and ask about volunteer opportunities. Just tell them you are going to nursing school and want to volunteer in an area where you would be around nurses and patients. Some floors that I was on for clinical had volunteers that would answer call lights, fill water pitchers, fetch blankets, etc. If you did something like that you could become friendly with the nurses, observe procedures, and gain experience being part of a nursing unit. Another option would be to look into becoming a patient observer.

    I regret not volunteering or getting a basic job in a hospital while in nursing school. It's hard to get into the hospitals as a new grad. All the open new grad positions go to employees and volunteers first.
  4. by   blackvans1234
    Unfortuantely, when I did volunteer work at my hospital, I had to jump through many hoops.

    Maybe shadowing will require less paperwork and rigamarole?

    My ultimate suggestion is to become a CNA and get a yob in a hospital if at all possible.
  5. by   thelittledoe
    The hospital I work at does not allow shadowing because of HIPPA and other legal concerns. Unfortunately the volunteers here get little clinical patient contact and they work as greeters, paper pushers, cashiers in the cafe and gift shop and occasionally help with transport. Like blackvans, I would highly suggest becoming a PCA or CNA. I'm currently a PCA and all the RNs I work with are saying that I'll (1) have a step up on the other students at clinicals and (2) have better possibility of obtaining a position upon graduation. Many of the volunteers, dietary and transport workers do not get these benefits as the hospital only hires those with "clinical care experience". Just check with your local hospitals to see what their HR department's suggestions are.
  6. by   Violach
    I am scheduled to shadow a nurse at a children's hospital this month. She told me that I will be required to fill out HIPAA paperwork, and then I will be good to go. I guess every hospital has a different policy.
  7. by   katrinad
    Hello yes you can shadow call your hospital or volunteer in the hosp I have experience so I know how to shadow. call the human resources and let them know what you are wanting to do. They will guide you in the right direction.
  8. by   Esme12
    There are many facilities that do not allow this any longer with the new HIPAA regulations and the participants immunization status to be compliant. Your best bet is just to call facility to facility.
  9. by   orchids1129
    Thank you everyone for the tips! I have absolutely no experience with this; your tips are wonderful! I wil lcall HR - but how do I go about doing that? What would you say?
  10. by   scrubsandasmile
    I would simply say, "Hi I'm orchids, I'm a pre-nursing student at XYZ college and I am interested in shadowing a nurse in the hospital or possibly volunteering here. Does the hospital do this? If so, could you give me some information about how I would go about that?"